‘Leaking’ Female Doctorates in the U.S. Stem Academy: A Review and Thematic Synthesis

32 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2022

See all articles by Grace Gahlon

Grace Gahlon

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Hannah Acheson-Field

Abt Associates

Kathryn Anne Edwards

RAND Corporation - Pardee RAND Graduate School

Stephanie Rennane

RAND Corporation

Melanie Zaber

RAND Corporation

Date Written: January 12, 2022

Abstract

Women comprise less than a quarter of full professors in STEM departments in United States universities, yet women outnumber men at the assistant professor level, underscoring the imbalanced representation of women in the academic career pipeline. In this paper, we present the results of a systematic review which explores the reasons why women are underrepresented (compared to their male counterparts) in STEM academic jobs. We conducted a thematic synthesis of key findings from the included records to identify common explanations for women’s leaks out of the STEM academic pipeline. Our systematic review yielded 98 papers in our final sample, and we derived 16 unique themes from the abstracted findings. We found: 1) there is limited research regarding individual choice and preference to work in STEM academic positions; and 2) there is limited research regarding demand-side factors (e.g., compensation and job availability). We discuss the consequences of the imbalanced literature and why it is important to remedy the paucity of research on these specific elements.

Keywords: STEM, gender, academic employment, academic workforce, leaky pipeline

JEL Classification: J16, A2, I23

Suggested Citation

Gahlon, Grace and Acheson-Field, Hannah and Edwards, Kathryn and Rennane, Stephanie and Zaber, Melanie, ‘Leaking’ Female Doctorates in the U.S. Stem Academy: A Review and Thematic Synthesis (January 12, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4007603 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4007603

Grace Gahlon

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ( email )

Baltimore, MA
United States

Hannah Acheson-Field

Abt Associates ( email )

6130 Executive Blvd
Rockville, MD 20852
United States

Kathryn Edwards (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation - Pardee RAND Graduate School ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kathrynanneedwards.com

Stephanie Rennane

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Melanie Zaber

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

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